Searching for Saints
by Anna Capizzi
I bought 20 holy cards Saturday morning.
“Do you have St. Thomas More, St. Bernadette or St. Cassian?” I asked the young clerk at the Catholic bookstore.
“No,” she replied, but told me to check the gift shop on the other side of the basilica as she rang up my collection of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Rose of Lima, St. Paul and others.
I crossed the cafeteria, weaving through a group of high schoolers congregating near the soda machines. After some searching, I spotted St. Bernadette — score! — on the “upgraded” holy card kiosk, cards with little metal crosses embedded in them.
No luck with St. Thomas More or St. Cassian, though. I figured I would have to get creative.
This episode of “Searching for the Saints” was now “to be continued.”
In planning the little details of our wedding, I’ve discovered that brides can get extremely detailed, more than I had ever imagined. That hit home a couple weeks ago when I was ordering our table number cards online.
The template had the expected sections — number and our names — but it also had another line at the bottom of the card. The example card read, “Edgar Allan Poe” in that line. “Huh?” I wondered. “Why would I want a poet’s name on my table number card?”
Then I realized it was the theme of the table. “Tables have themes now? This is really too much,” I thought.
A day or so later, an idea came to me. What if our table themes were the names of the saints who have special meaning to us or have accompanied us during our relationship? I proposed the idea to Walter and he liked it.
St. Therese, St. Joseph, Our Lady of Guadalupe — we narrowed down our list to 12 saints that we had a connection to, whether they were our confirmation saints, or were the names of churches we had attended together, or who had somehow hopped into our lives.
I took the idea a step further and decided to get two holy cards for each table at the wedding reception, so that guests could read a little about the saint — or at least see the prayer on the back of the holy card — and then take the cards home as a favor.
The process made me reminisce about one of my early dates with Walter. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day was approaching, and I wanted to visit the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on 14th Street in New York City.
On the feast’s vigil, the church is filled with multicolored roses and a line of pilgrims waiting to enter the church can wrap down the block. I had nervously asked Walter if he would like to visit, I was apprehensive because we hardly knew each other, and I wasn’t sure “how Catholic” he was.
He said he was up for it, and we took the train to the city, stopping at The Meatball Shop in the West Village for dinner before making our way to the church. Along the way, Walter bought a blue rose that I could give to “Mom” (Mary).
I was so excited, it had been a couple of years since I had been there and I wanted to pray in front of the huge image of Our Lady and to show Walter how packed the church would be and maybe buy a churro from a stand on the sidewalk.
We got to the church, walked up the steps and pulled on the door — it didn’t budge. It was closed! I realized the celebration must be a vigil only event and not continue into the night on the actual feast day. I was disappointed; we had made the trek out there.
“Would you mind if we said a prayer outside?” I asked Walter, nervous that he would think I was a weirdo.
Of course not, he said. We stood silently in prayer before a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a list of Mass times.
The adventure gave me a glimpse of who Walter was, his character, his openness, his faith, and I wanted to continue to get to know him better.
Now, while we’re less than 20 days away from our wedding and still have many small details to complete, it’s been comforting to remember the saints who have been with us since the beginning of our relationship and who will continue to intercede for us throughout our married life.
St. Thomas More and St. Cassian, pray for us.